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Updated April 30, 2014

Married gay couple
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Definition: Monogamy is defined as the state of having only one sexual or romantic partner. Monogamy may be used to refer to romantic relationships or sexual relationships where the defining characteristic is that a person has only one partner.

A mutually monogamous relationship where both people have been tested for STDs is generally considered to be one of low STD risk. However many relationships in which one partner believes they are practicing monogamy turn out not to be monogamous. This may be because the other partner does not realize the relationship is supposed to involve monogamy or because the other person is cheating.

When a person moves rapidly from one monogamous relationship to another, they are often said to be practicing serial monogamy. Serial monogamy is not necessarily associated with low STD risk, because people may carry undiagnosed infections from recent, previous partners.


Warren, Jocelyn T. , Harvey, S. Marie and Agnew, Christopher R.(2010) 'One Love: Explicit Monogamy Agreements among Heterosexual Young Adult Couples at Increased Risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections', Journal of Sex Research,, First published on: 28 December 2010 (iFirst).

Also Known As: monogamous relationship

Common Misspellings: monagamy, monagamous

Examples: The goal of many marriages is to establish a long term monogamous relationship. However, some marriages involve open relationships or other forms of non-monogamy.

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